The percentage of Kindle Book readers is fast catching up with the percentage of Print Book readers. Sending out physical print copies of your book (as review copies) is, therefore, becoming less useful.
Indie authors are looking to optimize their budgets and the time and cost of posting out physical Print books makes this less than optimal.
A. How Books & Documents get to Kindles
When someone purchases a Kindle version of a book from Amazon, it is wirelessly delivered to their Kindle device.
Not everyone realizes that each device has its own email address (which can be found under the Device settings on their Amazon account).
Sending documents to that email account adds that document to their Kindle library so they can be viewed on that kindle (or Kindle Apps associated with it). This doesn’t, however, change the format of that document.
B. What are PDFs, Epubs and Mobis
- Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format that was developed in the 1990’s. The advantage of a PDF file over other document formats (such as an MS Word Docs) is that the formatting is locked in. Locking in the formatting of images and text in a document means that you know where the images and text are displayed on a page when someone opens a book or brochure.
- Epub is an eBook format (with the extension “.epub”) that allows you the ability to download the book and read it on tablets, e-readers computers etc. Not used for Kindles
- Mobi is an Epub type file that Amazon uses for the books that they distribute for their Kindle readers (and the Kindle App).
C. Option One Convert PDFs or other formats of your Book to Mobi
During the review process, some authors like to download a copy of their book in PDF format to allow them to review it on their computer.
As they already have a PDF of their book, they see it as an easy way to distribute free copies of their book (and may even have this file as a FREE download on their website).
Although you can view different formats of documents on your Kindle, they are not optimized to view and may not read as well.
One of the simplest ways of creating a mobi file from a PDF etc. is to use a free online converter (such as pdf2mobi.com).
Supplying your book in Mobi format can provide a better reading experience for your Kindle reader as it retains some of the features that a Kindle book has. A PDF document converted to mobi will not provide the same quality as a document originally created as a mobi file.
When I’ve converted other people’s books (from PDF format) to mobi, they haven’t fit correctly on the Kindle screen and the reading experience has been erratic.
D. Option Two Download a Mobi version of your Book from KDP
If you are publishing a kindle version of your book through Amazon, then you have access to a mobi copy of your book through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Platform.
Once you have a manuscript uploaded to KDP you can download it as a mobi file.
When you are logged into your KDP account you can choose to follow this process for any book from your bookshelf:
- Click on the option to “Edit eBook content”
- Scroll down to the section of the “Kindle eBook content” tab entitled “Kindle eBook Preview.
- Click on either of the links “preview on your computer” or “preview on your Kindle device”
- Click on the link titled “mobi”.
- You will be given the option to save this file and you can choose where to save it (and under what name).
- I tend to rename the file with the name of the book, the date of the download and that this is the kindle version of the book. As you start to publish and update your books it is important to have a filing system. To keep track of the various versions of your book.
NB. As you haven’t made any changes to your content, you can just click on the bookshelf link at the top of your KDP dashboard and exit the editing process (without having to complete the book submission process for that book.
E. You’ve done it
You now know what a mobi copy of your book is and why it is beneficial to have that version for Kindle Readers.
This means that your book is easily available to distribute for Kindle review copies.
You can choose to have this as a download on your website or email it to readers direct.
NB. As we are talking about Review copies here, ensure that your file has a review link to the review page for your book.